Osaka is a city that's obsessed with food, and so it's the perfect place to learn a bit more about Japanese cooking. Eat Osaka cooking classes are run by Ben, a fellow Londoner, and Arisa, an Osaka native, in a lovely traditional building in the centre of the city.
The class centres around three Osaka street food staples, udon noodles, yakitori and okonomiyaki (a kind of Japanese pancake). Aside from the occasional attempt at sushi, Japanese food has always felt kind of inaccessible to me as a home cook. But once you buy a few staples (soy sauce, mirin, sake and dashi), a lot of the dishes are actually quite simple. We left with a sheet of recipes that we can't wait to recreate now that we no longer have an udon restaurant on every corner.
I was most excited about learning how to make udon noodles. The best part – you get to stomp on the dough to knead it! With only three ingredients, these homemade noodles are really simple and taste infinitely better than shop-bought ones.
Udon noodles (serves 2)
55ml water 5g salt 120g plain/all purpose flour
Mix the ingredients together into a ball and place into two plastic bags. Step on the dough for five minutes to knead it (but be careful not to break the bag!). Put the bag of dough in your pocket to rise for 30 minutes (the heat from your body speeds up the rising process). Place on a floured table and roll out into a long oval shape until the dough is 1–2mm thick. Fold the dough lengthways and cut into 3mm strips. Put the noodles in a pan of boiling water and cook for 12 minutes using chopsticks to separate them. Place into a sieve and rinse with cold water before serving.
Eat Osaka classes are centrally located and held in very small groups (as there were four of us, we ended up having a private lesson). They cost ¥6500 per person for lunch or dinner.
There's plenty more to do in this area besides eat, have a look at my Osaka guide.